Motivation Articles

25 Ways You Could Get Back on Track Today

Don't Give Up on Your Goals!

Not long ago, you were energetic and determined to start your healthy lifestyle. Starting with enthusiasm and hope, you watched your food intake diligently, exercised like it was going out of style, and even avoided the temptation that seemed to lurk around every corner. You were confident that you were going to reach your goals once and for all!

Then certain tragedy struck! You ate an extra piece of birthday cake. Realizing you had “blown” your diet, you ate another and another and couldn’t get it together the next day either. Or worse, you missed one workout, and that turned into a whole week away from the gym. After that, your momentum to start over again was gone, and your gym bag hasn’t left the closet since.

Every time you misstep on your healthy journey, you have two choices: to keep walking backwards, which will surely take you even further away from your goals; or to accept your lack of perfection as normal and forgivable, and take not one, but two positive steps down the path that brings your closer to the future you want.

If you’re reading this, you might have been walking backwards for a while. But instead of waiting for the next day, week, month or even year to overhaul your habits, start TODAY. And start small. You can’t go from the recliner to running or from burgers to Brussels sprouts in an afternoon. But you can do one, two or even a handful of small things that will help you regain your momentum for healthy living.

When you feel like getting back on track is overwhelming, try one (or more) of these small steps each day.

1. Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. For ideas browse our video library or workout generator.

2. Try a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right! Get lots of breakfast ideas here.

4. Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!

5. Look at Motivational SparkPages. Seeing how others overcome similar struggles and obstacles can be a great source of motivation.

6. Track your food today. No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it.

7. Update your SparkPage. It’s a visual way to track your ups and downs, but also your progress.

8. Share your goals. Whether you post them on the Message Boards or share them with a friend, you’ll be more accountable.

9. Exercise for 10 minutes. Jump rope, march in place, or do some crunches. Small amounts do add up to something big!

10. Find a buddy. Get support from friends, whether you need someone to listen or a mentor to give you ideas and encouragement.

11. Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!

12. Create a motivational collage. Include pictures of your goal and reasons why you want to get there.

13. Go shopping for some healthy foods. Use this shopping list for ideas.

14. Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat. That way, you can make an informed choice.

15. Ride your bike. Even a leisurely ride has benefits for your body and mind.

16. Work in the yard. Gardening and yard work is a great way to add activity to your day.

17. Take the stairs. Even if this is the only thing you do all day, you’ll feel stronger for it.

18. Rack up those SparkPoints! You earn them for every healthy task you do on the site—talk about motivating! Aim for a certain milestone, such as 100 points, and then reward yourself with a SparkGoodie!

19. Listen to an inspirational song. Better yet, make a playlist of them so you can turn to it whenever you need a boost.

20. Re-start your SparkPeople program. Sometimes it’s easier to get back on track when you have a clean slate.

21. Measure your portions. It’s a simple way to learn how much you’re eating.

22. Eat a piece of fruit. Even if 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables sounds impossible to you, one is doable.

23. Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy your meal.

24. Play! What kids call “play,” we often call “exercise.” Play a sport, a game, or use the playground equipment to bring the fun back into fitness.

25. Learn something new. Sometimes simply taking a quiz or reading an article about nutrition, fitness, or health can change your mindset and get you back on track.

In tennis, losing one point isn’t the end of the world. It happens to the best of them. In fact, if you can consistently win a few more points that you lose, you may end up in the hall of fame. With healthy eating and exercising, as long as you’re consistently out-stepping your steps back, you’re ahead of the game. If you expect perfection (and many of us do), you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and guilt.

You CAN get back on track today. Even if you’re moving slowly, you’ll be moving in the right direction!

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Member Comments

    I appreciate these tips.
  • I like this article. It's full of small, easily doable steps that can either help you if you've gotten off track or help you stay on track when you feel like you can't do it anymore. It's kind of cool an rainy today, so I don't really have the motivation to go out for a walk, but maybe...just maybe...this article has given me to boost I need to do just that.
  • This was chosen for me today I am trying again and trying to be more sensible about the exercise
  • My main reason for getting off track is because of the winter doldrums. It's dark, cloudy and cold just about every day. It saps all the energy out of me. There's only so much "daylight" to get things done and making time for exercise is not one of them.

    Of this list of ways to get "back on track", I could do the following:
    Try a short 5-10 minute workout using the SP video and workout generator
    Take a walk, no matter how long or how far
    Make a playlist of inspirational songs and listen to it when I need the encouragement
    Eat more fruits and veggies
    Drink more water
    Be mindful of my meal and snack portions
    Learn something new.

    I could also:
    Compile inspirational quotes and passages and read them when I need the encouragement
    Do something different.
    Read. Watch a funny show. Laugh.
    Declutter an area that needs it
  • Each day is a NEW day. Just like you can choose to be happy, you can choose what you will do to be healthy. These are good suggestions but the choice is yours. Make it early. And remember "Not to decide is to decide." Harvey Cox
  • Everything you said is true about me. but I will rise out of this self hatred.
  • This article is terrific. Just printed it out and will put these suggestions where I can see them every day. Thanks SparkPeople!
  • This article is exactly what I needed! Last year I went down from 156 to 134 lbs , but in recent times my weight is constantly fluctuating around 144 lbs. I feel I have lost something of what I have conquered and I was looking for some easy tip to find my motivation back. Thanks SP!
  • Some great ideas!! Have never done a collage - but think i will. Not sure with what or how - but am going to.

    And, already have set a goal of a certain number of steps each day. Having a hard time with it tho, because of a bad leg. Seems to hurt more when I walk more. But perhaps in time...........
  • This could not have come at a better time. After a bad week I got up this morning determined to start again and needed this motivation. Thanks Spark People again.
  • Someone once said to me "if you stumble at the top of the steps, you don't just throw yourself the rest of the way down. You grab the rail and steady yourself and continue walking down the steps." As you can tell, it has stuck with me!
  • This is a really helpful article - I read lots of articles on Sparkpeople, and this one had more practical, helpful tips than most. Thanks so much!
  • This is a great article, esp the links to various suggestions. I need to figure out how to save articles for future reference! Thanks!
  • Got to keep pushing toward success.
  • I'm back to tracking at least part of the time. I seem to make it through breakfast and lunch and the first range of motion exercises of the day. Sometimes I run out of time getting the rest of my tracking done before bedtime. but I'm Sparking!

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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